Here's how tobacco firms are making sure that you stay hooked on cigarettes 3 years ago

Here's how tobacco firms are making sure that you stay hooked on cigarettes

It has been described as a 'sophisticated' method.

As if it wasn't hard enough to try and quit before hearing this news, apparently big tobacco companies have developed what they describe as a 'sophisticated' pricing strategy to soak up tax increases and undermine efforts to reduce smoking.

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Academics at the University of Bath and King’s College London say the tactics ensure products remain cheap for the poorest in society.

The study analysed sales data from 2009 t0 2015 and found new cheaper brands, reduced pack sizes and price-marking had been introduced.

Obviously, more smokers switched to cheaper products to cut costs so while total sales of tobacco fell across the board, sales of the cheapest and roll-your-own cigarettes increased.

The price of the "sub-value" cigarettes fell by 7% between January 2013 and December 2015.

Dr Rosemary Hiscock, of the Tobacco Control Research Group at the University of Bath, said: "Through sophisticated pricing strategies and clever tactics, such as price-marked packs and small pack sizes, the industry is thwarting a public health measure in order to keep smokers hooked on tobacco and their profits rolling in.

"The introduction of standardised packaging and the minimum excise tax in the UK goes some way to address this, but the Government needs to grasp the full range of tactics the industry is deploying if it’s to deliver successful policy responses that truly protect public health."

Researchers said that a further increase in tax on roll-your-own products was needed to bring it in line with cigarettes.

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Dr Rob Branston, from the University of Bath’s School of Management, said: "The industry is effectively manipulating the system: it is absorbing the tax increases on the cheapest brands to make sure they stay cheap.

"It does this especially around the time of the Budget to hoodwink smokers but later in the year it gradually puts the cost of these products up, hoping smokers won’t notice.

"This game is possible because of the massive profits it is making on its premium products."

The full study can be found here.

 

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